Thank you for visiting our site and allowing me to share this exciting opportunity with you.
Before you read on, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself and why I created SUNUP Insurance Services. Although some of the information you read may not seem all that relevant to you at first, it should all come together by the time you finish. It is my sincere desire that you find the information on this site to be informative, interesting and beneficial to your professional and personal life regardless of whether or not you choose to join our team.
I got married at the very young age of 19 years old and shortly thereafter, we had a beautiful daughter. From that moment on, I knew that I needed to grow up and grow up fast! A lot was happening in 1984 and technology changes were happening at the speed of light. Even though the World Wide Web wasn’t in existence for another five years, Apple introduced the Macintosh personal computer, Michael Dell was busy launching his startup and the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was born. On the financial front, a severe recession was ending and the stock market was starting to climb. I knew how much I loved numbers and recognized the opportunity that was in front of me and at the ripe old age of 22, I became a stockbroker!
So much had changed in such a short period of time. With pressures of being a new father and husband, I studied every report I could find, made calls until the late hours and after my first full year as a broker, I earned $140,000! I couldn’t believe it. Back then, that was more money than I thought I could spend. With a new family, career, money and opportunities being thrown at me, it didn’t take long for this kid from Mocksville, North Carolina to change from a happy go lucky child who loved the outdoors, farming, friends and my community, to become a very focused producer in the financial services field. Out of economic necessity, I needed to produce and produce in a big way.
Looking back, many would think I would have regrets missing the partying and dating that most 20 somethings enjoy in young adulthood. Not me. I loved to work. I have even heard a few people call me “lucky” for being at the right place at that right time. I don’t believe in luck. I believe there are always opportunities and while many see opportunities that are in front of them, very few take advantage of the opportunities and put in the effort needed to reap the rewards of such an opportunity. This is a key point I will refer back to as you read through the next few chapters.
At an early age and still today, I’m not afraid to work and I don’t regret for a second on working long hours and opening my insurance and financial services agency. With that said, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t make a few mistakes along the way! Well, to be completely honest, I made more than just a “few” mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes may have been a few years after I started, a manager of mine recommended that I hire a consultant (business coach) to help me run the agency. At 25 or so and making a ton of money, I thought I was on top of the world and a coach was the last thing on my mind. I’ve been fortunate to meet many mentors along the way, and even today, I am coached by one of the best coaches in the country for insurance agents, Jeff Hastings, CEO of ContractCoach, LLC. In fact, I liked him so much, I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and now I am proud report that he is the President of Franchising! I truly believe that every business owner and executive needs to be coached. Never think you know it all. When you stop learning, you stop growing!
Over the next ten and a half years, I built a practice and had another child (a handsome son). All these great accomplishment: family, friends, top 1% of producers with a national company, lots of money…to an outsider, my life seemed perfect. For the most part, it was; however, in my personal life, things were falling apart fast. My wife and I realize we had little in common and decided to move into separate directions. Regardless of fault, divorce is never easy. It hurts families, children, and emotional stability. So, like the children of Israel in their flight from the Egyptians, I wandered into the wilderness. The education of those years (and the negative effect it had on my business) is an experience I will not soon forget.
What I did learn? I learned that money does not buy happiness, and I learned that I really appreciated the affirmation of when the client not only took my advice and counsel, but also acted on it.
In 2008, I married my lifelong sweetheart. Also in 2008, I started to encounter a series of issues that adversely impacted my business. In marrying Karen, I became a stepfather to her three children from a prior marriage. It was also at that time that I wound up unable to work for a three month period, and saw my income drop and my expenses increase dramatically.
From that point, I was trying to rebuild my business. By 2012 I was working out of a very small, very unimpressive office. I hated going in to work. I did not know what direction to take with my career, and while I was trying to figure out that direction, I got an email from a marketing representative with Liberty Tax Service. I knew well that tax preparation and investments go together, so I opened two, then four, then eight Liberty Tax offices. This provided me with an income for three months of the year. Although looking back, it was a lot to operate both the Liberty Tax offices and run an investment business at the same time, somehow we made it all work.
The experience also led me to realize that the tax clients were also potential beneficiaries of what Obamacare had to offer. Along with three partners, I formed a franchised insurance agency. That entity sold over 10,000 health care policies before my partners informed me that they did not want me in the partnership anymore.
It was a devastating situation for me because I put a lot of effort in raising capital for the business. The day I left that firm, after having given it my all for over two years, was one of the more desperate and sad days of my life. It’s one thing to be taken advantage of by a stranger; but by three people with whom I truly cared about and trusted was difficult to say the least. The stress and pressure of the previous months that had led to that moment were almost all I could handle. If it weren’t for my loving wife and a few close friends, I honestly have no idea how I would have gotten out of bed that morning.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you knew that your life was about to change? I am sure there are a few days or decisions you’ve made that you can point at and think how that day was a turning point in your life. However, I’m talking about knowing while you were in the moment, as the events were unfolding. This was one of those moments.
It wasn’t two hours after I fell asleep when the blinding orange sun rays came bursting through the crack in my window shade demanding my attention. Feeling sorry for myself and somewhat perturbed at the thought of leaving the warm sheets to draw the curtain closed, I crawled out of bed only to be stopped in awe as I witnessed one of God’s most magnificent and overlooked creations. As I gazed across the overgrown pasture to see the steam rising up from the calm lake water, Mayflies swarmed above waiting to become a bass’s next meal. The power and beauty of the morning sunrise was a perfect reminder of God’s grace and promise for a new day. That’s all I needed: The lake, fish and sunrise with God’s presence to remind me of my many blessings.
Isn’t it funny how our minds work and we often only remember tragic and negative events that occur in our lives? The fact is, bad things happen to everyone. There is no escaping it. There is no question that you can count a dozen or more events that have hurt you in the past. We all can. The question is how you are going to use those events to shape your life. Are you going to allow that person who has hurt you to keep you from taking chances because you feel unworthy, not good enough or simply fear being hurt? Are you going to continue to focus on what you don’t have or appreciate what you do have? It’s all about perspective. If you think your life is miserable, it is! Likewise, if you think your life is amazing – your life will be amazing.
Looking back, it was my perception and outlook on life that changed that morning. I wasn’t given a “get-out-of-a-funk” card to end my misery, I didn’t inherit money, and my new venture hadn’t even been imagined. All I knew was that I was excited again.
So, as a reminder of that eventful morning, I make a concerted effort to slow down at the end of every day to reflect on the day’s events. Did I go somewhere I’ve never been, help someone in need or make a difference in someone’s life? And regardless of my answer, I use each sunrise as a reminder to learn from my mistakes, ask forgiveness for my foolish acts and thank God for the opportunity to try again.
I call it the SUNUP Way and I’m excited to take this journey with you!
CEO – SUNUP Insurance Services, Inc.